« VorigeDoorgaan »
Sir Wil. Not mine, sure? My letters to him during ] my employment in Italy, taught him only that philosophy which might prevent, not defend his errors.
Jar. Faith, begging your honour's pardon, I'm sorry they taught him any philosophy at all; it has only served to spoil him. This same philosophy is a good horse in the stable, but an arrant jade on a journey. For my own part, whenever I hear him mention the name on't, I'm always sure he's going to play the fool.
Sir Wil. Don't let us ascribe his faults to his philosophy, I entreat you. No, Jarvis, his good-nature arises rather from his fears of offending the importunate, than his desire of making the deserving happy.
Jar. What it rises from, I don't know. But, to be sure, every body has it, that asks it.
Sir. Wil. Ay, or that does not ask it. I have been now for some time a concealed spectator of his follies, and find them as boundlesss as his dissipation.
Jar. And yet, faith, he has some fine name or other for them all. He calls his extravagance, generosity; and his trusting every body, universal benevolence. It was but last week he went security for a fellow whose face he scarce knew, and that he called an act of exalted mu-mu-munificence; ay, that was the name he gave it.
Sir Wil. And upon that I proceed, as my last effort, though with very little hopes, to reclaim him. That very fellow has just absconded, and I have taken up the security. Now, my intention is to involve him in fictitious distress, before he has plunged himself into real calamity. To arrest him for that very debt; to clap an officer upon him, and then let him see which of his friends will come to his relief.
Jar. Well, if I could but any way see him thoroughly vexed, every groan of his would be music to me; yet faith, I believe it impossible. I have tried to fret him myself every morning these three years; but, instead of being angry, he sits as calmly to hear me scold, as he does to his hair-dresser.
Sir Wil. We must try him once more, however, and I'll go this instant to put my scheme into execution; and I don't despair of succeeding, as, by your means, I can have frequent opportunities of being about him, without being known. What a pity it is, Jarvis, that any man's good-will to others should produce so much neglect of himself, as to require correction! Yet, we must touch his weaknesses with a delicate hand. There are some faults so nearly allied to excellence, that we can scarce weed out the vice without eradicating the virtue. [Exit. Jar. Well, go thy ways, Sir William Honeywood. It is not without reason that the world allows thee to be the best of men. But here comes his hopeful nephew; the strange, good-natured, foolish, open-hearted and yet, all his faults are such, that one loves him still the better for them.
Hon. Well, Jarvis, what messages from my friends this morning?
Jar. You have no friends.
Hon. Well; from my acquaintance then?
Jar. [Pulling out bills] A few of our usual cards of compliment, that's all. This bill from your tailor; this from your mercer; and this from the little broker in Crooked-lane. He says he has been at a great deal of trouble to get back the money you borrowed.
Hon. That I don't know; but I'm sure we were at a great deal of trouble in getting him to lend it.
Jar. He has lost all patience.
Hon. Then he has lost a very good thing.
Jar. There's that ten guineas you were sending to the poor gentleman and his children in the Fleet. I believe that would stop his mouth for a while at least.
Hon. Ay, Jarvis, but what will fill their mouths in the mean time? Must I be cruel because he happens to be importunate; and, to relieve his avarice, leave them to in. supportable distress?
Jar. 'Sdeath! sir, the question now is how to relieve yourself. Yourself-hav'nt I reason to be out of my senses, when I see things going at sixes and sevens?
Hon. Whatever reason you may have for being out of your senses, I hope you'll allow that I'm not quite unreasonable for continuing in mine.
Jar. You're the only man alive in your present situation that could do so-every thing upon the waste. There's Miss Richland and her fine fortune gone already, and upon the point of being given to your rival. Hon. I'm no man's rival.
Jar. Your uncle in Italy preparing to disinherit you; your own fortune almost spent; and nothing but pressing creditors, false friends, and a pack of drunken servants that your kindness has made unfit for any other family. Hon. Then they have the more occasion for being in mine.
Jar. Soh! What will you have done with him that I caught stealing your plate in the pantry? In the fact; I eaught him in the fact.
Hon. In the fact? If so, I really think that we should pay him his wages and turn him off.
Jar. He shall be turned off at Tyburn, the dog; we'll hang him, if it be only to frighten the rest of the family. Hon. No, Jarvis: it's enough that we have lost what he has stolen, let us not add to it the loss of a fellow-creature!
Jar. Very fine; well, here was the footman just now, to complain of the butler; he says he does most work, and ought to have most wages.
Hon. That's but just; though perhaps here comes the butler to complain of the footman.
Jar. Ay, its the way with them all, from the scullion to the privy-counsellor. If they have a bad master, they keep quarrelling with him; if they have a good master, they keep quarrelling with one another.
Enter BUTLER, drunk.
But. Sir, I'll not stay in the family with Jonathan, you must part with him, or part with me, that's the exex-ex-position of the matter, sir.
Hon. Full and explicit enough. But what's his fault, good Philip?
But. Sir, he's given to drinking, sir, and I shall have my morals corrupted by keeping such company.
Hon. Ha! ha! He has such a diverting way
Jar. O, quite amusing.
But. I find my wine's a-going, sir; and liquors don't go without mouths, sir; I hate a drunkard, sir.
Hon. Well, well, Philip, I'll hear you upon that another time, so go to bed now.
Jar. To bed! Let him go to the devil.
But. Begging your honour's pardon, and begging your pardon, master Jarvis, I'll not go to bed, nor to the devil neither. I have enough to do to mind my cellar. I for
got, your honour, Mr. Croaker is below. I came on purpose to tell you.
Hon. Why didn't you show him up, blockhead?
But. Show him up, sir! With all my heart, sir. Up or down, all's one to me. [Exit.
Jar. Ay, we have one or other of that family in this house from morning till night. He comes on the old affair, I suppose. The match between his son that's just returned from Paris, and Miss Richland, the young lady he's guardian to.
Hon. Perhaps so. Mr. Croaker, knowing my friendship for the young lady, has got it into his head that I can persuade her to what I please.
Jar. Ah! if you loved yourself but half as well as she loves you, we should soon see a marriage that would set all things to rights again.
Hon. Love me! Sure, Jarvis, you dream. No, no; her intimacy with me never amounted to more than friendship-mere friendship. That she is the most lovely woman that ever warmed the human heart with desire, I own. But never let me harbour a thought of making her unhappy, by a connection with one so unworthy her merits as I am. No, Jarvis, it shall be my study to serve her, even in spite of my wishes; and to secure her happiness, though it destroys my own.
Jar. Was ever the like! I want patience.
Hon. Besides, Jarvis, though I could obtain Miss Richland's consent, do you think I could succeed with her guardian, or Mrs. Croaker, his wife; who, though both very fine in their way, are yet a little opposite in their disposition you know.
Jar. Opposite enough, heaven knows! the very reverse